Monday, July 27, 2015

Blog Banter #65: Useless attributes

A new blog banter is up and it's a perfect topic for my first entry.

BB65 - Attributes and Skills
Does Eve need attributes? It's been discussed a lot recently. Unlike other MMO's your characters attributes don't make a difference in day-to-day gameplay. They simply set how fast you train a skill. Is it time to remove attributes from the game or totally revamp their purpose? Do they add a level of complexity to the game that is not needed? If you really need to use a 3rd party application to get the most from it should it be in the game? Should they be repurposed with each attribute adding a modifier to your ship? Are attributes a relic from the past or are they an important part of Eve - You make your decision and deal with the consequences?

Content without purpose

I feel very strongly about this subject, so my opinion will be very biased. I'm not saying it's the right one, however this is how I see it.

I believe Attributes are a relic of the past. I consider them on the same level as, now obsolete, learning skills. Perhaps it made sense for them to exist in early days, but EVE has developed a lot during a decade. Some things just do not fit in anymore and attributes are one of them.

Main problem I have with attributes (boosting implants and neural remapping) is that they don't really add anything worthwhile. The only thing they give you is a headache. Especially if you are a new player. EVE has a tendency to attract certain crowd. Majority of this crowd are min-maxers. They will try to get maximum result with minimum effort. It's the nature of the game and I'm no exception. When I started out, I've optimized my training plans in EVEMon. And by optimizing I mean setting neural mapping for core skills that required memory/intelligence. Patiently waiting out before training weaponry and ship skills that required perception/willpower.

Of course you always train some skills out of the plan, otherwise you wouldn't be able to play the game. But that was a huge downside to me, because when I did simulations in EVEMon I could see that in a year of training, I am losing more than 1 month's worth of training time taking on some detours like training desired ship together with core skills. For a new player that was huge time loss. I have to be inefficient in my training if I wanted to play this game. In theory, the only way you can be perfectly optimized in your training time, is if you created account for 1-2 years before even starting playing. Train all memory/intelligence skills, remap and train willpower/perception skills.

That is bad design in my opinion. If neural remapping was not enough, we also have attribute implants that speed up your training time. Combined with neural remapping we can have very big gap between best and worst training time. That was huge null pvp deterrent for me and here is why:

I sort of wanted to try null-sec. But one downside was - bubbles. Playing in nullsec almost always meant that you will lose your pod, thus most people are flying empty pods or minimizing cost by going only with cheap implants. As a young player, I did some simulations and I didn't like what I saw. My carried +4 implants made enough of a difference to make me stay in low-sec. I did not want to sacrifice my training time because there were so many things I wanted, like Black Ops or large T2 guns and drones. So I stayed in low-sec, which was still a great thing, but I never ventured to null, even if I wanted. Solely because I was not in the mood of losing my learning implants for a few good fights (or swap to an empty clone and have 24 hour timer for a few hours of pvp).

I was so into maximizing my learning time that I neglected all other fun implants. I would have considered buying that low grade slave or snake implant set (high grade was too expensive). But attribute bonus was still too low. Attributes did not add any fun and only limited me in every step as soon as I felt doing something adventurous. With so many skills present and so many opportunities to train for, I really hope I will see an announcement from CCP in some near future that will state the end of attributes. Let us just train what we want without second guessing if I should remap for this upcoming long training queue. Let us enjoy the game.

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